Carbon Cost Consistency


Thank you for your nuanced reporting in "Ripple Effect" and "Betting on Coal" (HCN, 3/17/14).

We particularly enjoyed Emily Guerin's account of Shonto Energy and the young minds "bucking the brain drain." The interviews reminded us of efforts in West Virginia to get the competence and confidence of the people out from underneath King Coal. Both scenarios show the value of empowering individuals to learn new skills that will propel their communities into a self-reliant economy.

Both articles highlighted the surprises inherent in regional energy generation and transmission. One issue you addressed is that piecemeal policies create uncertain signals to utility companies. A federally mandated price on carbon emissions could help smooth out some of the uncertainties. A tax on all non-renewable fuels, one based on CO2 equivalents and that returns money to American households, would motivate and reward individuals.

Moreover, it would create a consistent price signal for communities, states and companies that strive to use fewer resources generated by non-renewables. Over the long term, CO2 emissions will be reduced nationwide.

Citizen's Climate Lobby now has volunteer chapters throughout the West working on that policy, which is called carbon fee and dividend. By building long-term relationships with congressional representatives, we have found a way to communicate with lawmakers to pass legislation that will regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Amelia Potvin and Mary Russell
Carbondale, Colorado

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